How to Store Jewelry: 3 Key Considerations

woman who knows how to store jewelry in velvet-lined boxes

How to Store Jewelry: 3 Key Considerations

Storing jewelry properly extends its lifespan and reduces the risk of damage and loss (just like when you store photographs). When you’re thinking about how to store jewelry effectively, consider these three things:

  1. What type of jewelry are you storing?
  2. How long are you storing the jewelry?
  3. What environment are you storing it in?

Jewelry Storage Solutions for Different Types of Jewelry

In this article, we’ll discuss three main types of jewelry storage: how to store antique jewelry, how to store fine jewelry, and how to store fashion jewelry.

How Should I Store My Antique Jewelry?

Antique jewelry, as opposed to vintage or estate jewelry, includes any item that is over one hundred years old.  Due to its age, history, and relative scarcity, antique pieces are valuable in more ways than one. Also, because they’re precious, they must be stored with extra care.

Try these jewelry storage tips for antique jewelry:

Use individual boxes

Because these items tend to have claw settings, delicate links, and other features that easily tangle or break,  each piece should be stored in an individual box. Since sunlight and the elements can quickly tarnish metals, keep those lids on tightly. Do you have a lot of jewelry to organize? Buy boxes wholesale! That ensures you have enough boxes on hand for each piece.

Choose racks, not stacks

Vintage jewelry pieces, once nestled in their own individual boxes, should be stored on racks,  not stacked one atop the other. When you stack jewelry in drawers, on shelves, or in plastic containers, you need to do a lot of searching just to retrieve one piece.

What’s more, stacks can lead to damage. They can topple over and spill the pieces, or a heavy stack can slowly crush the boxes toward the bottom. Instead of stacking individual boxes, invest in display racks. Each box will be within easy reach, and the risk of damage will be significantly lower.

How Should I Store My Fine Jewelry?

Fine jewelry is also valuable and must be treated with great care. Follow these two simple steps:

  1. Store by type. While antique pieces require individual boxes, fine jewelry can be stored in shared jewelry boxes. The important thing to remember when storing multiples is to group them by types. Earrings with earrings, necklaces with necklaces, bracelets with bracelets, rings with rings, and so forth. Knowing how to organize jewelry is an important part of knowing how to store jewelry properly. Invest in boxes that allow for multiples of the same variety, not a large jewelry box in which all styles are intended to be stored together.
  2. Clean the jewelry and the storage area. Always clean fine jewelry between uses and before storage. If you regularly wear your fine jewelry, keep the jewelry boxes and the space around them neat and organized. A cluttered environment invites dust and grime. It can also create a higher chance of accidental damage.

How Should I Store My Fashion Jewelry?

Though the price points differ between fine jewelry and fashion jewelry, fashion jewelry still has worth and should be stored nicely. However, the options for storing fashion jewelry are more flexible:

  • Enjoy variety: Think outside the box here — literally. While boxes might still be an option, fashion jewelry allows for more creativity. Necklaces and beads can be hung in clusters on racks of hooks. Rings can be poured into bowls. Bracelets and earrings can be nestled in plastic craft organizers.
  • Beware tangling!: When you’re storing jewelry in non-traditional ways, be careful to keep your items from tangling together. Use your judgment, go slowly, and make adjustments to your plans as needed if you see things starting to tangle.
Pro Tip:

Remember that storage materials matter, so research your jewelry organizer ideas carefully. Store antique, fine, and otherwise valuable jewelry pieces in velvet-lined boxes with hard sides. Fashion jewelry can safely be stored in boxes of lesser quality, such as cardboard or Tupperware. If there’s no danger of tangling, bowls and racks are also okay. No jewelry, however, should be stored in bags.

How Long Can I Safely Store My Jewelry?

The answer is… it depends. While there are stories about ancient pieces surviving after being buried under a hill for a thousand years, no one would argue that that’s ideal.

When it comes to the optimal length of time for how to store jewelry, answers vary widely based on:

  • The materials used (such as wood, metal, or cloth)
  • What types of stones are in the jewelry (such as precious or semi-precious gems)
  • Environmental factors

We recommend that you research the particular pieces you want to store so you know what the experts say about how to store jewelry in their field. If necessary, call or stop by a local jeweler to see what advice they can offer about the best way to store jewelry that needs particular care.

Does It Matter If I Don’t Know How Long My Jewelry Will Be in Storage?

jewelry pieces stored separately in a jewelry box

Life is unpredictable. If you don’t know how long you need to store your jewelry, creating a plan can be frustrating.

It does matter how long your jewelry will be in storage, especially because of the factors listed in the point above. But don’t make that the primary factor in deciding whether or not to make use of storage options. When putting jewelry (or anything else) in storage for an indefinite length of time, plan for long-term storage so your belongings stay as safe as possible.

Also, schedule time to check on your items. Make these checks regularly with the understanding that interventions may be necessary. Sometimes, even the best way to store jewelry can have a negative effect on the value or integrity of fragile items.

The Average Temperature of Your Jewelry Storage Location

Does Temperature Affect Jewelry in Storage?

The short answer is “absolutely.” The long answer? Again, it depends. Though the optimal storage temperature for jewelry is “room temperature” (68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit), some types require more specialized care.

Much of the answer depends on the age of the piece, the materials used, and how they handle sharp changes in temperature.

Take opals and pearls, for example:
Pearls are formed by oysters and other mollusks secreting a mixture of aragonite, conchiolin, and water around irritants lodged in their bodies. This material is very vulnerable to acids (even perspiration) and ammonia (which is found in many cleaners). Pearls are also very vulnerable to scratching. Opals are made of amorphous (non-crystalline) silica and can consist of up to 21% water. Although most opals used for jewelry are 1% to 6% water, they’re still extremely sensitive to sudden changes in temperature. Like pearls, opals are vulnerable to scratching.

The secret of how to store jewelry pearls and opals safely is control. Store them separately from other pieces, preferably wrapped in soft, moist cotton. As much as possible, they should be kept in climate-controlled environments.

How Can I Mitigate the Risks of Jewelry Damage During Storage?

First, know what you’re dealing with. Before you decide how to store jewelry in your collection, determine its materials. Pearls and opals require different levels of care from diamonds, which in turn differ from plastic beads and wooden rings. Knowing what you’re working with ahead of time will hopefully relieve some stress from the task of how to store jewelry. Make lists of the jewelry items you want to store, plan what containers to use, and evaluate possible environmental factors.

Also, plan their placement precisely. If you’re storing jewelry at home, that’s one thing. If you’re storing jewelry in a warehouse, that’s another. In either location, you must consider the location within the location.

If you’re storing high-risk gems at home, keep them away from heaters, air conditioning units, natural sunlight, or furnaces. Likewise, when considering long-term storage units for high-risk items, only look at climate-controlled storage environments and keep them away from direct downdrafts. In most of North America, that means you’ll be looking for heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. While this cuts down on options, it also cuts down on the number of sites you’ll have to evaluate. It’s a silver lining in disguise.

Final Tips for How to Store Jewelry

Once you know what jewelry you’re storing, how long you want to store it, and what environments are best, it’s easy to store jewelry properly. As you start sorting and storing your jewelry, keep these three tips in mind:

  1. Work in stages. Nothing’s more stressful than trying to tackle an enormous job in one single night. Before you do anything else, open your scheduling app or calendar. See when you have free blocks of time, and then plan to spread the job out over several sessions.
  2. Take your time. In very few situations should jewelry organizing be a rush job. To decrease the chance of mistakes, accidents, or damage, pop on a podcast, kick back, and take things one careful step at a time.
  3. Have fun. Perhaps in your mind, learning how to store jewelry and having fun don’t belong in a sentence together. But scheduling the task in small blocks, finding jewelry storage solutions you like looking at, and getting invested in the journey can help.
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